Hampton School Boat Club
Hampton School Boat Club is the rowing club of Hampton School. Each year the club produces 1st VIIIs that compete at Championship level in the United Kingdom. The club hosts two Head race events each year. The club was founded in 1956 and has its own boat house on the River Thames on the reach above Molesey Lock.
For many years HSBC was based at Molesey Boat Club, on the River Thames near Hampton Court Palace. In 2000 the club's Millennium Boathouse was opened a few kilometres upstream close to the upstream end of Platts Eyot.
The land it was built on was originally owned by Thames Water and construction of the boathouse was a joint project with the Lady Eleanor Holles School Boat Club. In 2000 the boathouse was opened by Sir Steve Redgrave and Dr Ann Redgrave.
Rowing at Hampton
Rowing at Hampton School is open to boys in the third year and above, and is split into three sections:
Third year rowers. Hampton schoolboys can join the boat club from the third year onwards. In the J14 year boys learn to scull and the emphasis is on training to improve technique, flexibility and fitness rather than competing. One week in Easter is spent as a training camp at the Millennium boathouse. During the year, the rowers showing the most promise are selected in crews for Hampton School's own rowing competition Hampton Head as well as various other events including Peterborough regatta and the National rowing championships.
Fourth year rowers. In the J15 year boys begin learning sweep-oar rowing and selection begins for J15 'A', 'B' and 'C' eights. This year is aimed as preparation for rowing in the 'A' squad, and the crews will compete at many of the same races as the 'A' squad, with the main competitions being the Schools' Head Of the River Race and the National Schools' Regatta.
The 'A' squad
Fifth and sixth form rowers. The 'A' squad is made up of the oldest rowers in the school and is the squad from which the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th VIIIs are selected. The 'A' squad travel to many head races and regattas throughout the year including the Armada Cup in Switzerland, the Schools' Head Of the River Race and the The National Schools Regatta. The 1st VIII will also compete in the prestigious Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta, and the 2nd VIII will sometimes attempt to qualify for the Temple Challenge Cup.
In addition to racing in the school eights, the top 'A' squad rowers each year compete at Great Britain trials to try to represent their country at the following events:
- Munich International Regatta
- Home Countries International Regatta
- Coupe de la Jeunesse
- Junior World Rowing Championships
Hampton has been represented at most Junior World Rowing Championships since the event's creation.
The boat club hosts two rowing events each year in the head race season; Hampton Small Boats Head (the most popular head race of the year); and Hampton Fours and Eights Head.
Each race is over the same distance of roughly 3 km, raced downstream from just below Sunbury Lock to the finish, roughly 50 metres downstream of Platts Eyot.
At each event competitors and spectators are invited to Molesey Boat Club after the races for teas and cakes before the prize-giving.
Hampton has produced three treble winning 1st VIIIs in its history: 1985, 1986 and 1988. In 2004 Hampton won 1st, 2nd and 3rd VIIIs at the Schools' Head of the River Race. In 2013, at the same race, they came first in the following categories; Championship VIII’s, 2nd VIII’s, 3rd VIII’s, J16 Championship VIII’s, J16 2nd VIII’s, J15 2nd VIII’s, and J15 3rd VIII's, winning a total of 63 gold medals.
Many rowers from Hampton have also gone on to compete at international levels and in recent years Hamptonians have consistently competed for Oxford and Cambridge in the Boat Race; in 2003 two sets of Hamptonian brothers (James and David Livingston, Matthew and Ben Smith) competed.
Two of Hampton's most successful rowers are undoubtedly brothers Jonny Searle and Greg Searle who went on to win the gold medal (together with cox Garry Herbert) in the coxed pair in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
- Rowing on the River Thames